The majority of the public is not buying what Senator Obama is trying to sell to the public on his Mid-East trip. Only 39% of Democrats say Obama’s trip this week make him more qualified to be president, while 42% disagree. Amongst independents 67% of disagree. 28% of unaffiliated think Obama will learn from the trip, but almost 40% think he made up his mind before going to Iraq. Read more about the public reaction to the trip below:
Rasmussen-While Barack Obama has touted his travel to the Middle East and Europe this week as a “fact-finding” trip, 63% of Americans do not believe it makes the Democratic candidate any more qualified to be president. A new Rasmussen Reports national survey, taken Monday night, also finds that less than a third (32%) think Obama will learn from his trip to Iraq. Forty percent (40%) say his mind is already made up about policies to deal with the war there. The Democrat has been accused by liberals in his party of softening his long-standing opposition to the war in Iraq in an effort to appeal to more moderate voters. Obama on Tuesday at a press conference in Jordan defended his plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq over a 16-month period. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, with whom he met, opposes a timeline of any kind, but Obama said more forces are needed in Afghanistan. He outlined these positions in the days prior to his visit to Iraq. The partisan divide is clear throughout the new survey. The responses of self-designated Democrats and likely Obama voters generally mirror their candidate’s actions and positions, although at times very narrowly. Republicans and likely voters for John McCain support the GOP candidate much more emphatically. For example, while 74% of Republicans say it is not right for a candidate to make political statements contrary to government policy while in a war zone, only 40% of Democrats disagree. Nearly as many Democrats (38%) agree with the overwhelming majority of Republicans, as do 50% of unaffiliated voters. In a separate survey this week, 45% said Obama is too inexperienced to be president. This number has risen from 41% over the past week. But the same number — 45% — believe the Democratic candidate does have the necessary experience. Slightly more than half (53%) of Americans in the new poll do not approve of candidates making statements contrary to U.S. government policy while visiting U.S. troops in a war zone. Only 29% believe that it’s okay to do so. But 49% say it’s fine for a presidential candidate to make a highly-publicized trip to a war zone, while only 26% disagree. Less than half (47%) believe it is better to have a president with military experience directing a war, but 38% say it doesn’t matter. Seventy-three percent (73%) of Republicans see military experience as a plus, but 57% of Democrats do not. Obama has not served in the military, while McCain was a Navy combat pilot in the Vietnam War. He was shot down on a bombing mission, imprisoned and tortured in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” for six years. Among those who have members of their immediate family in the military, 48% say military service makes a president better able to conduct a war, while 36% disagree. Another Rasmussen Reports survey this week finds that while voters trust Obama more on most issues, McCain has a double-digit lead on his rival when it comes to national security and the war in Iraq. Overall, Obama and McCain remain very close in the popular vote contest as measured by the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll. Only 39% of Democrats say Obama’s travels this week make him more qualified to be president, while 42% disagree. Eighty-six percent (86%) of Republicans and 67% of unaffiliateds feel the same way. The gap widens when how an individual plans to vote is factored in: 44% of likely Obama voters see the travel as a positive, while 89% of those who plan to vote for McCain disagree. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of likely Obama voters say he will learn from his trip to Iraq, but 66% of potential McCain supporters say he made up his mind before traveling there. Democrats overall are a bit more skeptical, with 49% saying he will learn on the trip. Among unaffiliated voters, a key bloc in the upcoming election, 28% think Obama will learn from the trip, but 38% think he made up his mind before going to Iraq.